Friday, 04 Jun, 2010 Technology

US Army Tests New Hybrid-Electric Robotic Vehicle


The US Army is currently carrying out tests of the new Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD), which represents a 9.6-ton, 6-wheel unmanned robotic vehicle that runs on hybrid-electric drive train.

The trials of the new vehicle are performed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. It is worth mentioning that the hybrid-electric drive train was developed by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). It allows the 15-foot-long vehicle to reach a top speed of over 50 miles per hour.

According to Dr. Jim Overholt, senior research scientist in robotics at TARDEC, the vehicle is equipped with obstacle detection and avoidance technology. It is able to climb a 1-meter step, cross hills with a 60-percent slope and turn in place.

The onboard lithium-ion batteries can be recharged by a diesel generator, powering to the 6 in-hub electric motors.

Among other technologies used in this robotic vehicle one may find advanced suspension systems along with thermal and power management systems, as well as robotic safety systems, and lightweight hull technologies.

Mr. Overholt also mentioned that the vehicle features a number of sensors and a laser/radar scanning radar, dubbed Ladar. The latter is used to detect moving objects at distances. More information is available here.

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